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Maximizing the Quality of Your Expressed Milk
One way to maximize the quality of your expressed milk is to use storage and feeding containers that are made of glass or hard, clear or cloudy plastic bottles since they are known to be the best choice to minimize any loss of the milk components.
Mothers interested in maintaining the best quality of expressed milk should also avoid, or minimize the use of plastic storage bags. A considerable loss of fat and possibly fat-soluble vitamins occurs when breastmilk is stored in plastic bags and there is an increased risk of contamination through holes or tears. (Arnold, 1999) However, many mothers find the convenience of storage bags offsets the related concerns since expressed breastmilk stored in plastic bags is still far better for the baby than formula. Additionally, the risk of tears in the bags can be minimized by double bagging and/or storing the bags in a rigid plastic container with sealed lid to prevent other freezer items from coming in contact with the bags and creating tears.
When re-warming your milk, some vitamins may also be lost. Excessive heat and microwaves should never be used to warm milk. These decrease many of the milk’s anti-infective properties, as well as vitamin C.
On the next page find out if bonding with your baby will be affected by feeding expressed milk, rather than feeding at the breast.
What about Bonding?
Some people are concerned about any differences in bonding when babies are exclusively fed with bottles. Certainly if a mother and baby are struggling at every feeding and ending up in tears, that has the potential to diminish the bonding experience feedings generally provide. In some situations, switching to bottles may actually enhance the bonding between mother and infant.